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  1. PENTIMENT [4] A biggish budget Disco Elysium-like with a heavy emphasis on charm and art history headed by the person behind Fallout New Vegas, but also an EXTREMELY deft hand in how it reveals how your build effects what you see. Disco has the bold idea to show you options you can roll on even if your stats won't clear them, to plant more specific seeds about the kind of player you might like to try next time. Pentiment instead at no point reveals what's available for different builds, and those different builds can change on six different factors (so far! I'm only in act 2!). I am in constant awe of what they've done here. High marks, strong recommendation, probably #3 on my top 5 but I could see it passing SIGNALIS.
  2. Speaking of Game Pass, I figured something out yesterday. I went through all the games I played this year through Game Pass and what I scored them at. I've been subscribed all year and have played 32 games (and possibly 34 by the end of the year). I've liked 15 of them. I have the Game Pass Ultimate so I'm paying $15 a month, or $180 a year. To play all the games I played/intend to play this year without game pass, it would have cost me $855. And again, I only liked about half of them, so something like $400-440 would have been on stuff I regretted paying for or actively disliked. EDIT: Another way to look at it is, three games in my top 5 for 2022 came from Game Pass (and that's true whether Pentiment ends up in my top 5 or not) Proof: 1. Elden Ring 2. SIGNALIS (game pass) 3. Splatoon 3 4. As Dusk Falls (game pass) 5. Weird West (game pass)
  3. A hard drive with all my art and videos and music and record masters and everything died this week, so in my next step of my Infinite Plan To Avoid Thinking About That, here's some game reviews. SURVIVOR.IO [2] VAMPIRE SUVIVORS [2] So when a new genre-thing emerges from the muck I feel a misplaced responsibility to give it a shot, and I don't feel like that's paid off less than it has with these two. It doesn't help that both developers are pretty open about how they're designed to be addictive and exploitative, though at least the Vampire Survivors guy only wants to eat your time. It's unsettling to me, on top of it being basically a simulated action game. Whatever. I'm not the audience, and I worry that they don't respect their audience, but I feel divested from trying to talk about that. SIGNALIS [4] In a year where Elden Ring doesn't come out, this is the game of the year. It's an instant classic survival horror game that's moved me to awe, wonder, and a little bit of the old existential dread. Fabulous, clever, confident. I do not want to talk about what happens in it. I want people to play it. Highest recommendation. I have four additional games I intend to play this year: Pentiment (just got past class creation, it's super charming), Warhammer Darktide (cuz friends), Hardship Spacebreaker (might not get to this one) and the graphical release of Dwarf Fortress (cuz if I can't get in once they have a tutorial and graphics then I'm not gonna get into it).
  4. I didn't forget! There's like no chance I'll listen to them all in 2022 this year! Woohoo! Rules: First Come, First Serve. If you nominate two, I'll listen to zero. No guarantees that my review will be positive. If someone suggests your album I'll ask the both of you if you have another album you'd rather I review. First Come First Serve still applies. This year, I haven't been listening to a lot of new music because I've been trying to close up loose ends as I prepare for a real big transition next year. So I didn't listen to a lot of the big stuff this year, and I have a big list of stuff I meant to hear from this year. However, in lieu of knowing for sure, the new album I've listened to the most is "God's Country" by Chat Pile. Over the last two years I've had my eternal fill of noise rock where the vocalists just tell you they suck over and over like it's profound soul-searching, only to later just be telling on themselves. Fool me once, etc. Chat Pile hits those same veins of dark atmosphere and tension, but through just looking at the world around them and not just roleplaying as a guy who pretends he sucks. On top of that, I feel they're the best in class of the Jesus Lizard lineage, a style of rock band that mostly annoys me. Show me what you got! Please. Please show me what you got.
  5. HYPER DEMON [4] mm now that's a tasty video game. It's a first person arcade game. It's the most visually overwhelming game I've played since Polybius. EXTREME EPILEPSY WARNING: It Looks Like This when you're good at it. I'm not good at it. I might never be. I'm so glad it exists. RESTARTED YAKUZA LIKE A DRAGON [4] yakuza good i like SLICE & DICE 2.0 [3] I didn't know this game was working on updates at any point. Turns out it just completely remade every part of the game, to like a sequel's amount of depth and changes, and didn't charge me for it again! Woohoo! But my save wouldn't transport over for some mysterious reason which means I have lost everything I had unlocked before. Boo. Also all the fun builds I exploited for easy wins are completely removed. The three score is entirely because of that. (quick scale reminder: 1 = hate, 2 = regret, 3 = don't regret, 4 = love). Gameplay wise, it's a 4. Now for a more surface level explanation: Slice & Dice is a run based roguelike where the player has five characters with different classes (agility, strength, defense, healing, magic) and each character class has dice. So like a defender's dice will have Shield 2, Shield 1, etc. The trick is, there's 100 different character classes, separated among levels (5 of each type for level 1, then 8 of each for levels 2 & 3), and only limited choices on which ones you get. So, it's really hard to have runs go the same way. On top of that, there's 354 different kinds of items to get that all provide different modifications to the characters. There's also 16 different play modes, that all play extremely differently, and leaderboards. This game's like $4 I think? It's on phones, it's got a demo, try it out, it's sick. SCORN [2] This is so close to being so cool, but I can't recommend it and I don't think I'm going to finish it. And yet for all the complaints I have about it, the game is called Scorn, so I suppose I don't know what I expected. It's the first game that's ever made me seriously consider trying Pathologic 2. If you like Survival Horror, with a game that checkpoints about as often as you found save points in Silent Hill 1 or Resident Evil, you may like Scorn. If you like Pathologic, well, I didn't know anyone on this board liked that game and you should know the comparison point is specifically in the combat and not all the RPG parts.
  6. it is still pretty weird but they've been owned by the same company since 2012 when they sold to CBS Interactive
  7. Well there's nothing that springs out as egregious in the build, though I should say that when a guide like fextralife says an enemy is weak to something like bleed, that only counts when the effect fires and not towards overall damage done. If they're weak to something more elemental like fire or holy, then every swing is extra damage. I would second waiting to summon until phase 2, because the main things the wolves will do in phase one are hit the wrong targets and get crushed by the chandeliers, so it's not really worth it. and yeah there's just a few spells where if you get hit you get zonked, and that'll be true for every boss pretty much for the duration of the game. The way to think about leveling up is that so when you're in some big fucked up late game cave, you can still die in like three hits but if you don't level vigor it'll be one or two. I would also say that this is a game that really rewards rolling towards your opponent as a common solution to attacks. For instance, with Rennala, the homing glintstone would do me in until I started just rolling into them instead of to the side. Every boss has attacks where rolling towards them is the better solution, even if it's completely counter intuitive. And who knows, maybe this boss just has a mental block on you. That happens too. During my first playthrough, I genuinely thought I wasn't going to beat it entirely because of the Godskin Duo. I died something like 47 times to them alone. I cried about it once or twice. So it could be that it's just time for you to be in the trenches now, and by the time you get to some other boss that lives in people's nightmares you'll just be like "what was the big deal about this fight" and get it on your first or second try. Regardless: keep at it, you'll get there, and remember, there is no such thing as cheesing bosses.
  8. Since I have no idea what your build is or stats are, or what you're currently going up against, I'm going to have to make some assumptions. It sounds like the expectation is that once you hit a certain level it's smooth sailing for the duration of the game. I'm sorry to say that that's not really how these games work. There's not like a level you reach where suddenly things stop doing damage and you can take twenty hits in a boss fight. Every fight requires constant attention, and especially every boss fight. I will also say that the arc of what leveling does to your character is a lot more subtle than the effects of upgrading your weapons. In your post you say you have pretty good gear, which I'm interpreting to mean that the stats on your armor are good, and that can help for sure. I would make sure your weapons are staying as upgraded as possible. That can even be a higher priority than stats on occasion. In general the advice for Elden Ring is that, whenever you hit a wall, go explore and do something else and come back later. There's multiple ways around situations. Maybe the boss you're trying to do right now isn't necessary to clear the game. Like, I'm going to pick a name out of a hat here, but judging from talking about how the recommended level for clearing the boss you're struggling with is 40, I'm going to guess the boss you're stuck on is Radahn. The good news is, you do not necessarily need to beat Radahn to progress in the game! Now, if you're hoping to complete a specific sidequest, then yeah, Radahn's gotta go down. But Radahn can wait until as late as you like. So yeah. Without knowing what may or may not be going wrong with your gear or build or any synergies between the two, and the pure guesswork of thinking you're stuck at Radahn- an extremely common roadblock btw- I would suggest you just go explore and check out something else. Every other FromSoft game- be it souls or kings field or sekiro or bloodborne- are games where you're on a Quest. Think of Elden Ring instead as an Adventure.
  9. SPLATOON 3 [4] 2nd place for game of the year. It's my first time playing a splatoon so I can't speak at all to the iterative nature of it, or how derivative it may or may not be of the other games. What I can say is that it's the most fun I've had playing a competitive shooters in years, for two reasons. First, the gyro controls. Using the gyro controls are brilliant in this game because no gun is precise enough that it's a serious detriment. Everything fires in spreads and unpredictable patterns, so just putting the crosshairs near the target will do, and gyro controls let you aim faster than a stick. Second, I hadn't realized until putting 10 hours into how much I am done with Headshots as a mechanic. Splatoon has no headshots, so you have to think entirely about the encounter as an encounter, of exchanges between your weapons and tools with another set of weapons and tools. I prefer that. Great game. MIDNIGHT FIGHT EXPRESS HAS THE SINGLE STRANGEST BUG I'VE EVER SEEN [n/a] On the Xbox, after you make your initial save the game hangs on a "Loading Save Data" screen. It will do this until you change your profile picture. I have an old Xbox 360 profile picture I'm afraid I'll lose access to if I change my profile picture, so I guess I'll never play Midnight Fight Express. Oh well! WEIRD WEST [4] Currently my 3rd place for Game of the Year. I've been going out of my comfort zone a lot in the last month or so and this is part of that- this is a weird hodgepodge of a bunch of genres that feels as much like an immersive sim as something like Crusader No Remorse. It's on game pass, so for game pass havers this is currently the game I'd give a strongest recommendation to because it's a bit of a hard sell at $40, being a game that has no immediate comparisons. It's interesting and it seems long as hell tho, so it's most likely worth the money, but I wouldn't have tried it at all without game pass.
  10. I'm firmly on the anti side. Briefly, I find their storytelling to be largely at odds with the game they make, and not in some fun intentional way. I think most of sony's auteur-marketed stuff suffers from this, where these people make games about human misery because their work environment is openly hellish, and you make what you know. It causes their stories to ring hollow to me, especially in the case of TLOU where the writing team is making Cormac McCarthy's The Road Where I Miss My Family Because I'm Here 90 Hours A Week and the animators are making Super Manhunt 3 EX Plus Alpha. I feel both of those mindsets are inflicted upon these professionals by their environment, and I can't get down with it. I feel the praise those games get can be most attributed to the games industry dragging it's feet with developing dramas or anything that is not action movie pastiche. As such, they are conversed about in a hyperbolic fashion that's often not that connected to what's actually happening in those games.
  11. a story about my alma mater In 2014 SDSU had two kidnapping attempts a few weeks apart. The night after the second one, while waiting for a bus, I sat on the curb and listened to some dipshit kid give an interview to a local reporter about how women need to stay in groups and watch what they dress. later that week a third kidnapping attempt happened literally directly in front of my brother, who was only on campus to give me a ride and was idling in his car on the top floor of a parking garage. that one didn't make the news because it got classified as a domestic dispute. so all of this is disappointing but i can't really claim its surprising
  12. among all the move creators you just listed I'd also like to give a shout out to irbou, who's impeccable work makes it possible to have Actually Good Looking Shoot Wrestling in Fire Pro. For some reason the board wont let me embed a link right now, so here's a link to his workshop page. https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198001863177/myworkshopfiles/?appid=564230 Also, FYI, if your number of downloaded moves starts hovering near 3500 (you laugh but it's easier to get up there than you think), it could corrupt your save, so be sure to prune aggressively.
  13. ESCAPE ACADEMY [3] Thank goodness for Game Pass. This game's a hard sell since it's replay value is literal Zero. In a braver world, there's a way where you make this game without a hint system, and failing to complete the puzzles forces a narrative path. Instead, this game has one road that's lightly written and extremely blunt hints, while also making every puzzle timed. It creates a really uneven experience, like an arcade version of The Witness or something. If you would like to play ten escape rooms with about five lines of dialogue between each room, then you'll love Escape Academy. PC RERELEASE OF MONUMENT VALLEY [4] While the controls aren't well adapted from the touch screen, that's made up for by playing it on a big screen with quality speakers. Monument Valley is my 2014 game of the year, and it's still a complete delight that I wouldn't dare spoil why. I recommend it, but understand that it's more about atmosphere and tone than it is about challenge.
  14. I've been playing some video games. STARDEW VALLEY W/ HILLTOP FARM [4] I've honestly never tried to play one of the alternate plots because every time I'd start it I'd just get "EHH BUT MY HABITS" and stop. This time I forced myself to get at least to summer on the Hilltop Farm start and I got to winter in the same week. Honestly, I love this plot more than the default now, even if it's impossible for multiplayer as a whole. Stardew Valley is still really good. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: SHREDDER'S REVENGE [3] So a reminder is needed here: A 3 in my scale means "I don't regret playing this." What I learned is that it is exactly as fun as the amount of people you're playing it with. I played it solo for an hour and hated it, but it's definitely well made and it's probably better with a crew that's invested. I don't have a crew that's invested. LAST CALL BBS [4] I have accepted in my 30s that my intellect is entirely interpersonal and creative. Another way to put that is that I am too much of a numbskull for logic puzzle games. While the majority of the stuff in here is logic puzzles, I love everything about the vibe of it. This is from Zachtronics, the developer behind a large number of puzzle games I am not smart enough for (Opus Magnum, Exapunks, Mobius Front '83) or programming games that I am REALLY not smart enough for. This... is still kind of one of those, but the difference is that it's a minigame collection framed around getting an obscure piece of PC hardware from a friendly fellow and making it work within it's limitations. There's a Picross/dungeon builder puzzle game. There's an emulator in it that runs a knockoff of Magical Drop. There's an extremely artsy puzzle game about growing organisms that lets you make animated gifs of your solutions that's explained as a project by a director who thought games were The Future and definitely feels like that. There's all sorts of other games in there, but I haven't tried them, because in order to unlock them you have to dial into a BBS (thus the name) and download them, and after you've downloaded them you have to wait for the BBS to let you download again because of how big whatever you just downloaded was. Putting it another way: this game has so far shown me two separate fake warez hacker intros, complete with custom mouse cursors, esoteric shout outs, invitations to joint the revolution, and all else. If this appeals to you, you should check it out. It is also on PC Game Pass. MAINLY FORTNITE [3] Fortnite's Zero Build mode has ripped through my friend group and has not let go, at all. It's the main thing we do to hang out now. And honestly, it's working great, because it's so garish and absurd that it's impossible to get mad at it, and that actually allows me to play that game with my friends since after how Good last year was, I have completely lost any interest in either trying to get them to stop raging or trying to give aftercare to keep them from beating themselves up. My bandwidth is lower than ever for that. DREAD DELUSION [4] As we are in the middle of indie games figuring out "hey we can make playstation games," there's been a host of people trying to workout how one might redo old first person RPGs. This is, at the moment, the best of the ones I've tried. Thick with atmosphere, a completely original setting, and a blunt instrument of an RPG system- this is the kind of game I am looking for. I have tired of comparing multiple numbers. I do not view Amazon Product Comparison as a fun mechanic. Give me a weird knife and an unclear quest, I want to go on an adventure picking up weirder knives and meeting hopeless souls and killing total freaks. Dread Delusion is great. Be warned tho, it is in early access. also when they had all those demos up I played the escape academy one and I'm gonna play that when it comes out this week
  15. It's May 4th, and you know what that means: It's been a decade since MCA passed away, and I've watched this every year on the day. RIP MCA, and thanks for everything.
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